The Headmaster’s Newsletter

Dear Parents

Following the outpouring of goodwill as demonstrated by our Ridge School family during the Right Stuff Action Day on Saturday 1 June, it is appropriate to keep in focus for a while longer so much that such a day was able to bring into view for us all. This is certainly not to indulge in any self-adulation or as a patting-on-the-back exercise but purely to reflect on what proved, for so many, to be a day through which Celebrating with a Purpose took on a new meaning.

From the boys themselves came a number of gently innocent yet remarkably perceptive comments that serve to highlight for us all some of what their involvement in the day brought home to them.

  • Dear Ijeoma and Smeeta… thank you so much for the cool T-shirts and for organizing this magnificent event.
  • I stayed at Park Care for three hours. I really enjoyed helping people but most of all I loved spending time with my family.
  • The place that I went to was for children who get abused and bullied. The place is called Fight with Insight and they learn to box and to defend themselves.
  • I made sleeping bags for the homeless and it was very exciting. When we had finished our first one I felt really satisfied.
  • I went to Woodrock Animal Shelter. We painted the fence and fed the puppies and took them for walks. I loved Action Day and I hope that we can do it again.
  • On Saturday I went knitting at school. We were making blankets. My mum was helping me and now I want to try by myself.
  • I went to the Zoo to clean the Crocodile’s habitat. I picked the shovel duty because it looked interesting. I found that shovel duty was to pick up leaves and to put them in a bag with mud which they are going to turn into compost.
  • While I was working I found a sawn bone that was probably growing fungus or bacteria. It looked like an antelope bone. My sister found a crocodile tooth. She got the good end of the bargain.


Staying alert to the effects of Winter ailments:

As always, at this time of year, the flu virus begins to make its presence felt and particularly within our schools where the various influenza strains seem to multiply in ways that make containing them a real challenge. We have been seeking advice from experts within the medical fraternity who have advised the following:

(Please bear in mind that this is offered very much in simple layman’s terms and is given purely to guide some of the thinking around when and when not to keep your boys at home should they be coming down with something)

The Influenza A / A1 strains – also known as Swine flu – are certainly doing the rounds again this year. Given that it is a particularly nasty virus the advice from the doctors is to stay at home, stay warm, not to exert oneself unduly, and to be patient as this particular strain can take up to a week, if not longer, to clear the system.

There are a number of other flu strains around as well, all of which also present with similar flu-type symptoms, i.e. fever, headache, cough, a build-up of nasal congestion, etc. All of which the body will fight off as it builds up the necessary resistance to the particular ailment. Doctors again remind us that taking anti-biotics will not serve any purpose when the body is fighting such a virus. Their advice is to boost the immune system with vitamin C and immune boosters. Keeping your immune system working is the best thing to fight off / reduce the effects and severity of illness.

The urgent request from us here at The Ridge is that if your lad is presenting with any of the above symptoms, please don’t send him to school. All that this will do is to delay his recovery whilst, at the same time, resulting in the flu virus being passed on to others.


Grade 7 2019 Scholarship Offers from senior schools:

We are very pleased to share that the following boys have been offered scholarships to some of the country’s leading boys’ colleges. Hearty congratulations to:

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Transformation, Diversity and Inclusivity…              

It is good to be able to report that a number of exciting new TDI initiatives, introduced by Moeketsi Motsepe and his team, have been endorsed by The Ridge Board of governors. We will be introducing all of these to parents in due course.


“One of them worth passing on at this relatively early stage is the project with Heartlines. Heartlines is a research based social change NPO that promotes social cohesion through storytelling. The organisation’s research team has put together the instrument we will be using to test whether dialogue and storytelling can bring about a change of heart in learners. The instrument is based on the constructivist model of how knowledge is acquired. The idea is to use storytelling from authentic South African stories to promote cultural exchange between learners and across the length and breadth of our country.

The Heartlines team is currently writing lesson plans which will be sent to our English and Maths HoDs for comments.

The trial with the lessons will be conducted after half-term, and will carry on till the end of term. If it is successful teachers will be trained on how to source materials outside their immediate contexts and points of reference. This is done with the intention to widen the teachers research skill in sourcing material. The training will be carried out in the third term.”  Moeketsi Motsepe

Fathers’ Day on 16 June:

On behalf of our Ridge boys and indeed, the whole school family, it is good to be able to join together in remembering and honouring our Ridge dads as time is set aside for all to enjoy Father’s Day on Sunday this coming weekend.


A Final Word… Youth Day – 16 June:

As we look forward to enjoying this upcoming long weekend, it is important to bring to mind again the history, tragedy, pain and courage associated with Youth Day as we commemorate it here in South Africa. Friday morning’s assembly this week will be devoted to sharing much of this with our Ridge boys.

On 16 June 1976 an uprising that began in Soweto and spread countrywide profoundly changed the socio-political landscape in South Africa. Events that triggered the uprising can be traced back to policies of the Apartheid government that resulted in the introduction of the Bantu Education Act in 1953. When the language of Afrikaans alongside English was made compulsory as a medium of instruction in schools in 1974, black students began mobilising themselves.

On 16 June 1976 between 3000 and 10 000 students, mobilised by the South African Students Movement‘s Action Committee, supported by the Black Consciousness Movement, marched peacefully to demonstrate and protest against the government’s directive. The march was meant to culminate at a rally in Orlando Stadium.

On their way they were met by heavily armed police who fired teargas and later live ammunition on demonstrating students. This resulted in a widespread revolt that turned into an uprising against the government. While the uprising began in Soweto, it spread across the country and carried on until the following year. The uprisings tragically ended with hundreds of young people being killed by the apartheid government when they protested against the imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

The aftermath of the events of June 16 1976 had dire consequences for the Apartheid government. Images of the police firing on peacefully demonstrating students led an international revulsion against South Africa as its brutality was exposed.


Sunday 16 June 2019… a time for remembrance, reflection and the showing of respect as we consider the sacrifice made by so many young South Africans on this day forty-three years ago.

Best wishes and safe travels if you and yours are on the roads during the three long weekend days ahead.


Richard Stanley






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